WEYMOUTH, Mass. — Weymouth Police have launched an investigation into a possible case of arson at a local church.
Officials were dispatched to the Sacred Heart Church on 72 Washington Street at around 9:07 a.m. on Monday. Preliminary evidence indicates there was fire damage to the entrance of the church, which likely happened between 11:00 p.m. on Sunday and 8:00 a.m. on Monday.
The church’s pastor believes someone set off some sort of explosive device by the church’s front doors.
“Obviously whoever’s involved is either troubled themselves or they have some type of hurt and we hope they get the help, but we certainly feel like we’re being targeted and that saddens us, especially when we have vulnerable people coming to mass here in the morning,” said Father Sean Connor. “It’s sad for us, it’s tragic for anyone who’s targeted this way, and we hope people who are struggling get the help and we’re certainly praying for them.”
The front doors to the church were found burned with broken glass on the ground and the pastor says there was smoke damage inside the building.
“It looks like someone set off, exploded two devices two Molotov cocktails,” said Connor. “There’s significant damage, it’s very sad especially for us here where this church burned down 15 years ago.”
Connor feels as though they’re still recovering from the seven-alarm fire that destroyed this church, which was originally built in 1882.
He also says the most concerning thing is that this isn’t the first time a catholic church has been targeted recently in the area. They rebuilt Sacred Heart in 2007, so to see this fire that police believe was intentionally set was heartbreaking for this church community.
“We’re working with specialists because it’s a hazardous scene to make sure it’s cleaned up properly and there was smoke damage inside the church too,” said Connor.
According to the Catholic Action League, this incident marks the sixth time a catholic institution has been the target of arson or vandalism this year. A couple of these incidents happened earlier this summer.
“Two parishes in Boston, St. Peter’s and St. Margaret’s, have been targeted, one an arson situation, but the other have been frequently targeted by someone chain locking their doors from the outside, which is a huge safety issue,” said Connor.
Connor is now working on the cleanup process to make sure the church is safe.
In a statement Monday, the Catholic Action League said in part:
“These attacks must be stopped. They must be treated as the hate crimes which they are, and the perpetrators must be identified, prosecuted and incarcerated.”
“We just hope that no one gets hurt and we hope police are able to do their job and we’re grateful for their response,” said Connor.
Anyone with information about this fire is asked to call the Arson Hotline at 1-800-682-9229.